This site is in beta mode while we add the remaining policies. To feedback or help, please get in touch!
In Progress
Ensure victims of sexual violence do not have to be cross-examined in court

We will ensure that child victims and victims of sexual violence are able to be cross-examined before their trial without the distress of having to appear in court.

Our Verdict

Cross-examination in court can be distressing for vulnerable or intimidated victims, such as victims of sexual violence. Publicly providing evidence of traumatic, degrading or abusive events can upset or further traumatise the victim, especially when speaking in front of or being directly cross-examined by their alleged abuser.

Between 2013 and 2016 the government piloted a scheme where child victims and some vulnerable adult victims were given the option of pre-recording their cross-examination evidence before the trial. Plans were made to roll-out the scheme nationwide and to extend it to victims of sexual violence from 2017. But the date was pushed back indefinitely by the end of that year.

Just before the general election the government had been in the process of passing the Prisons and Courts Bill and legislating to ban cross-examination of victims of domestic violence, which includes sexual violence, by alleged abusers. But the bill fell as the general election was called.

A study of domestic violence by Queen Mary University and Women’s Aid found that a quarter (24%) of the women interviewed had been cross-examined by their abusive ex-partners in court.

Following a consultation from March to May 2018, in January 2019 the government published its response and a draft Domestic Abuse Bill. The draft bill contains provisions which, if it becomes law, may fulfil this policy pledge and prohibit cross-examination of victims of sexual violence in court.

In light of the draft bill, we’re marking this policy as ‘in progress’. We’ll be tracking the development of the bill, as well as consulting with independent organisations as to whether the proposed legislation offers protection from in-court cross-examination for “all” victims of sexual violence.  Follow this policy for updates.

Want more detail?


There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we track policies, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why or submit an edit.

Get involved!

Whether you are for or against this policy or just want to know more, it's never been easier to get involved and have your say. Try these for starters…

Join the discussion On this page, or Twitter, or Facebook. Democracy is better shared!
Follow this policy We'll send you email alerts every time something interesting happens.
Ask your MP Ask your MP to help you support or block this policy - write to them here.
Get the facts Sense about Science and Full Fact are great for evidence and fact checking.
Get ahead! The Simple Politics newsletter breaks it all down for you - before it happens!